How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Why does writer’s block wipe out more than just the ability to write?

Not only are you unable to string a few words together, but you also can’t seem to remember any advice on writing, plot or character development. It’s as if everything you knew has been obliterated.

The more desperate you get, the more omnipotent the block seems to become.

There’s your character, sitting listlessly, waiting for you to come up with something, and all you can do is stare back at him.

What was it Anne Lamott said in Bird by Bird?

Didn’t Kurt Vonnegut make a useful suggestion at some point?

Can’t Google get creative and tell you what to do?

You know there are specific ways you can think about character and plot development that might get the words flowing, but even as you try to remember them, it seems too late. The blockage has taken over everything.

If you want to know how to overcome writer’s block, read on.

Wouldn’t it be ideal if you had a map you could follow? A map to help you overcome writer’s block; one that tells you what to do when you get stuck?

Well, here it is!

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You have a character that isn’t working. Have you tried making him want something – badly?

That was what Vonnegut advised: “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” What could your listless fellow want?

What about that stubborn plot issue? Consult the map again.

Why don’t you fast-forward to several scenes ahead – even through to the end, if necessary? Having a clear idea of where you’re going can often show you where you are.

The map reminds you to try various approaches to find solutions to diverse problems.

So the next time you find yourself staring back at a character, locate the map. Check whether you’ve considered other ways around that seemingly intractable problem.

You might find your way out of the Land of Block much sooner than you expected.

Give it a try and share your thoughts and experience in the comments.

About the author

Natasa Lekic

Natasa Lekic is a freelance editor at NY Book Editors, a New York-based team that offers editing and copyediting services to writers. If you’d like to get more editorial advice, subscribe to their email editing tips at www.nybookeditors.com.

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